Far Left magazine publishes Pro-Gun editorial
Well, they only published it because I submitted it. For those of you who don't live in Jacksonville, FL and don't have access to the Folio Weekly, here is the backpage (teased on the magazine's cover) editorial I submitted. This 'alternative newspaper' devotes plenty of page space to reader feed back on editorials, and because most of the readers are extremely liberal I have a feeling they will be publishing alot of hate mail attacking my position.
For those of you living in Northeast Florida, feel free to mail in informative rebuttals to the Folio Weekly if you notice them publishing uninformed hate mail over the next couple of weeks.
Here's the editorial:
I remember my latest visit to the St. John's Town Center, man was I sweating bullets. It wasn't the scorching Florida sun that got to me, nor the astronomical prices of the restaurants or even my typical American male ignorance of effective shopping techniques.
It was my first time carrying a concealed pistol in public, and I was worried that somebody would recognize that the clinking sound I made as I walked was not the change in my pocket but the .38 Special +p live rounds ominously shifting back and forth in the cylinder of my concealed Smith and Wesson 637. Although I took extreme care in dressing around my gun to eliminate any 'printing' or surface visibility, I felt that I had a neon sign glowing over my head and any minute I would hear a blood curdling scream sending hundreds of people clogging the plaza would disperse in all directions crying bloody murder about a guy with a gun.
Turns out my fears of unintentionally inciting a mass panic attack never happened. To calm my nerves, I began initiating small talk with store clerks and even the random shopper. Nobody noticed a thing, nobody became unnerved and nobody even glanced at the location of my gun. They had no idea, and I was comfortable with that.
Soon enough carrying a loaded gun everywhere I went became just as routine as carrying my wallet and cell phone. I almost forgot what that initial feeling of nervousness felt like until the week of Oct. 22-26, when I openly displayed my empty holster on my hip in one of the few remaining gun-free zones: class at the Florida Community College at Jacksonville - South Campus.
It was much to my surprise as I openly displayed my holster, in my part of the nation-wide 6,000 member Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Empty Holster protest from Oct. 22-26, that relatively few classmates even noticed the holster despite it hanging out for all to see.
Why is it against the law to carry a legal weapon on campus but perfectly OK to carry it just down the road?
Some may say that concealed weapons pose a threat to children. I would be surprised if the young lady that rang me up at Barnes & Noble was even old enough to buy a pack of smokes. Others may say that the stresses and frustrations experienced in the classroom are enough to make even responsible young adults do stupid and violent things. I made the mistake of taking JTB Eastbound home from the St. John's Town Center, needless to say that the unexpected hour-long commute combined with the extremely common inconsiderate Jacksonville driver was more stressful than any class assignment I have ever completed!
Of course, there are still those who will just persist that guns just don't mix with academics:
"I think it's fair to say that we believe guns don't belong in the classroom," said Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker in an April 13, 2005 interview with The Roanoke Times regarding a student who was arrested by campus police for possession of a concealed firearm despite the fact the student held a state-issued concealed carry permit. "In an academic environment, we believe you should be free from fear."
What I don't understand is how am I creating an atmosphere of fear if my weapon is concealed? I failed to alarm the hundreds of shoppers in the St. John's Town Center that first afternoon, and I failed to do little more than raise a few eyebrows even fully displaying the tool I use to carry a lethal weapon wherever I go.
There's a good chance that you have brushed shoulders with someone legally carrying a weapon and you were none the wiser. More than a million concealed weapons licenses have been issued in the state of Florida from 1987 to Jan. 2007. In the same time frame, only 158 (0.014 percent) of the 1,136,496 permits have been revoked due to gun crimes by permit holders. We're not the 'bad guys' and our weapons are no threat to you as long as you don't attempt to threaten our lives.
What should scare you is that an estimated 200 million firearms in the United States are available to potential killers, criminals and scum through legal means (if they have yet to commit a crime) or illegal means. If one has the will, no matter what legal obstacles stand in the way, one can find a way to harm someone.
Sound scary? It should, but what's even scarier is the fact that as gun control laws get tighter with every shooting, criminals gain firepower against law-abiding citizens who are increasingly handicapped in their ability to defend themselves. Across the United States, students and faculty at every educational institution with the exception of a select few campuses in Utah are completely vulnerable to not only increasingly-common school shootings, but ordinary violent crimes as well.
Thankfully, in order to actually obtain a concealed weapons permit in the state of Florida, one must undergo a safety course that teaches basic weapons handling as well as familiarizes permit applicants with Florida Statutes that regulate self defense. All of this comes with several hefty fees (especially for a poor college student), not to mention the price of the gun and holster itself. Between the education and price, I can say with confidence that the only ones legally carrying out there are the ones who refuse to be victims, not irresponsible students or the perpetrators who wish for us to live in fear.
As a victim to a violent crime, I can personally tell you that being unarmed and vulnerable to an armed aggressor is an extremely frightening experience. The fact that I was only a 911 call, several rings and a several minute response time away from police assistance was not very helpful. I was at the mercy of the aggressor, thankfully he only had my money and the
contents of the cash register on his mind in lieu of murder for the sick thrill of it. I don't believe that the little blue emergency poles that dot the University of North Florida would be much more helpful in saving you from an imminent threat.
I refuse to become a victim again, and I'm positive anyone who has been overpowered by an armed adversary would agree with me that being sufficiently armed is the only hope of defense one can have aside from hoping a police officer is in sight.
It's time for Americans stop thinking with their hearts and fire up their minds. Guns exist, and to stick your head in the sand and think written laws against guns on campus will save you or your school-age children is a dangerous attitude. This is the only time fighting fire with fire will ever work; because while laws against rape or murder won't prevent the crime from being committed and another person victimized at that very moment, a well-placed bullet always will.
If you're uncomfortable with the idea of carrying a weapon, it's your decision to risk being at the mercy of an armed aggressor. However you feel, do not limit my ability to defend myself or even those in my immediate vicinity from death or serious bodily harm. Bearing a firearm isn't paranoia, it's the ultimate life insurance policy: the one that may mean the difference between life and death shall the worst happen to the best of us.